|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Wiki

Yann Martel on Animals and the Holocaust in Beatrice and Virgil

I often get asked the question why I use animals in my stories. Life of Pi was set in a zoo and featured a number of animals, and animals once again play a prominent role in my new novel, Beatrice and Virgil. Am I a great animal lover? Well, I suppose I am; nature is indeed beautiful. But the actual reason I like to use animals is because they help me tell my tale. People are cynical about people, but less so about wild animals. A rhinoceros dentist elicits less skepticism, in some ways, than a German dentist. I also use animals in my fiction because people rarely see animals as they truly are, biologically. Rather, they tend to project human traits onto them, seeing nobility in one species, cowardice in another, and so on. This is biological nonsense, of course; every species is and behaves as it needs to in order to survive. But this animal-as-canvas quality is useful for a storyteller. It means that an animal that people feel kindly towards becomes a character that readers feel kindly towards.

Why did I choose to write a novel about the Holocaust? There’s nothing personal to this interest; I’m neither Jewish, nor of German or eastern European extraction. I’m a complete outsider who’s been staring at this monstrous massacre of innocents since I first learned about it as a child living in France. It’s as an artist that I’ve kept coming back to the subject. What can I do as an artist about the Holocaust? I believe that if history does not express itself as art, it will not survive in common human memory. And so I took what I knew of the Holocaust, the cumulative knowledge of my reading and viewing and visiting (both to camps in Poland and Germany and to Yad Vashem in Israel and to various museums), and I set it next to that part of me that wants to understand through the imagination. Then I sat down and wrote Beatrice and Virgil.

edit this info

Details

ISBN-10:  1400069262
ISBN-13:  978-1400069262
Author:  Yann Martel
Publisher:  Spiegel & Grau
What's your opinion on Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel?
rate
7 Ratings: +1.3
You have exceeded the maximum length.
More Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel reviews
review by . August 17, 2010
The first thing you need to know about "Beatrice and Virgil" is that it is not for everyone. Many will find it to be moving and unforgettable; probably an equal number will be bored with it, even to the point of not finishing it. It is that kind of novel. The second thing you need to know is that it is a difficult novel to review without lessening its potential impact on the reader. Reviewers need to be particularly careful with this one because, the less readers know about the book's details going …
review by . December 10, 2010
   The subtitle of this post should be something like “In which I explain my ambivalence about a book I REALLY wanted to love. But meh.” Published April 13, 2010 by Spiegel & Grau (a RandomHouse imprint) Nine years after Life of Pi (which, by the way, completely rocked my world), Yann Martel brings us Beatrice and Virgil, one of the most anticipated novels of the year. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most disappointing. And believe me, this is not the review I …
review by . March 20, 2010
As a fan of the author's previous novel, Life of Pi, I ordered this novel with high expectations. Like Life of Pi, Beatrice and Virgil centers around animals and has a strange and a surreal feel to it; in this book, strange is taken to new heights.       The entire book consists of vists between two Henrys who live in the same town: one is the author of a long-ago famous novel and the other is a sullen taxidermist. The latter has written the former and asked for help with a play …
Quick Tip by . July 22, 2010
Didn't live up to Martel's first book The Life of Pi.
Photos
Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel
Beatrice and Virgil
Related Topics
The Alchemist

A book by Paulo Coelho

8EA9CA7BC4B49D63B03AFD6291F94BA

A book by Elie Wiesel

First to Review
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists